Friday, November 11, 2005

Photo by: D Bowden "Peninsula State Park, Wisconsin"
My Favorite Poem:
Garden of Love
by William Blake - 1794

I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen,
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And "Thou shalt not" writ over the door.
So I turn'd to the Garden of Love,
That so many sweet flowers bore.

And I saw that was filled with graves,
And tombstones where flowers should be,
And Priests in black gowns, were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars, my hopes and desires.

Analysis of Blake's "The Garden of Love"
D. Bowden - October 2005

"The Garden of Love" by William Blake is a poem about someone who was once carefree and innocent with the joy of living. He soon finds that life is full of judgement and moral restrictions created and imposed by the "moral few" who created these rules. I interpret this to be a poem to be about the negativity of religious institutions that corrupt innocence.

In the first stanza, the one who is telling the story goes to the "Garden of Love" with great expectations that things will be the same as when he always had gone there in the past. When he gets there, he sees a "chapel" now stands in the way of where he had played and he begins to realize something he has never thought of before. The "Chapel" represents the pious ones who set the rules for society, and brings focus to the dark side of life, stealing innocence away and blocks his way to his dreams and desires for happiness.

The second stanza states "the gates of the chapel were shut." He was shut out of this private world where decisions are made on behalf of society about how he and others should live. He has no part in the creation of these rules. He "turn'd to the Garden of Love", still pursing the joys and desires he was in search of, but when he reaches "the Garden of Love", he is greatly disappointed. Instead of "flowers" (which represent his hopes and desires), he finds the Garden is filled with graves. Tombstones are where flowers should be. The graves represent all of the disappointed souls who were looking for the same things as he is. They are dead, not literally, but spritually. The "priests in black gowns" are the ones who enforce the moral laws and restrictiosn. They prevent people from finding true happiness and contentment. "Binding their joys and desires with briars" they hold them back from doing things they love, or even being in love. The moral few keep people from true happiness. Will he become another soul in the graveyard?

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